Make or break
The Brave Warriors Chan qualifier against Madagascar on Sunday will be the biggest test so far for interim coach Bobby Samaria.
18 September 2019 | Sports
Namibia will travel to Madagascar for the first leg of an African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier.
The Brave Warriors are potentially just two victories away from securing a place at the 2020 Chan finals.
They will come up against a team that boasts a wealth of experience and depth. “Yes, we know that Madagascar are a better-ranked team than us and we will have to work harder in order to secure qualification.
“The good thing is that we are starting away from home and this always gives an opportunity to do better in the return leg. “The boys have been positive in the camp and I therefore feel that we will be able to produce good results over the two legs,” Samaria said. Samaria's men booked their place in the final round of qualification by beating Comoros 2-0 away and playing to a 0-0 stalemate at home.
The Warriors will be confident after their good showing against Eritrea in a two-leg Fifa World Cup qualifier.
Samaria feels they will carry the same form into the clash against Madagascar, even though most of the players who played against Eritrea will not be available for selection, given that the Chan competition is only for locally-based players.
Namibia beat Eritrea 2-1 away and 2-0 at home to secure their place in the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers. “The boys have been working hard and there is no doubt that we fancy our chances. “We, however, also have to be wary of the threat that Madagascar poses to us, given the fact that they have been doing well on the African continent,” Samaria said. Namibia are yet to lose a match under Samaria, who replaced Ricardo Mannetti as coach after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Egypt. Madagascar will be Samaria's biggest test to date, given that the islanders are ranked 96th in the world, compared to Namibia's ranking of 121.
Samaria will also be concerned that his local players have not been able to play regular football, because the premier league is currently inactive.
A victory for Samaria is likely to better his chances of securing a full-time appointment as Brave Warriors coach, while a defeat will complicate his future in the hot seat.
The return leg will be played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on 19 October.
Jesse Jackson Kauraisa